• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 07

Ancient Portrait of a Youth

Listen to the ambulance as it speeds down
the street to the hospital six blocks away,
siren gasping for air as the passenger.

Wild honeysuckle does not know it should wear
a mask, clothesline long gone because of the stain
of blossoms yellow and pink on white tee shirts.

Ash and mulberry overarch to where Concord
grapes once grew on the arbor, where the shirts
now hang to be bleached by the high desert sun.

Does nothing know it should hold its breath?
How do the boy’s eyes render me hopeful
in beeswax burned in wood?

How am I grateful for the bloom of spurge
that can make a cow sick enough to drop
to its knees on the way to the river?